The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
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What are the ideas or values presented in The Picture of Dorian Gray?

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Dorian comes to regret with all his heart the devil's bargain he has made to trade his own body's aging and growing ugly with the portrait doing it instead. He realizes too late that it has corrupted him and made him evil to be able to get away with depravity and cruelty and still look young and innocent. As he comes to the end of his saga, he feels sad and soiled, and he

felt a wild longing for the unstained purity of his boyhood—his rose-white boyhood, as Lord Henry had once called it.

He repents of having prayed the portrait age for him. He now realizes there is no free ride and that he was allowed to get away with things that have come back to haunt and torment him. He craves punishment, because it would purify him. He thinks:

Ah! in what a monstrous moment of pride and passion he had prayed that the portrait should bear the burden of his days, and he keep the unsullied splendour of eternal youth! All his failure had been due to that....

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